Steps to minimize civilian death in Yemen 'ineffective'

Steps to minimize civilian death in Yemen 'ineffective'

The Saudi-led coalition is using famine as an instrument of war, the UN report says [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

A UN report on human rights abuses related to foreign intervention in Yemen details the extensive civilian casualties inflicted by the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes, according to the Washington Post. 

The UN experts examined 10 airstrikes in 2017 that killed 157 people, including 85 children, saying that “measures taken by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its targeting process to minimise child casualties, if any, remain largely ineffective,” according to the Washington Post, which obtained the unreleased report.

The report also criticises Iran for not stopping alleged weapon transfers to Houthi rebels, who stormed the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 and captured large expanses of the country. 

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition larged a large aerial campaign against the Houthis aimed at restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.  

Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed, according to the UN.

A majority of the more than 5,000 civilian deaths were caused by the Saudi-led coalition, of which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member, the UN has previously said. 

‘Starvation a tool of war’ 

The coalition, which is maintaining a blockade on Yemen, is using the “threat of starvation as a bargaining tool and an instrument of war”, the Washington Post quoted the report as saying.  

In November, the UN said that “Yemen will be gripped by famine – one the likes of which the world has not seen in years – if the blockade … is not lifted”. 


The UN’s top human rights official Zeid Raad al-Hussein had called for an independent inquiry into atrocities in Yemen for three years before the international community agreed in 2017.

In September, the Netherlands and Canada debuted a draft resolution which would establish an international commission of inquiry to make sure “perpetrators of violations and abuses, including those that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are held accountable”.

The resolution was approved after China signalled its support later that month.

According to the Washington Post, the UN report also accuses Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen – including the capital, Sanaa – of major violations.

The report finds that ballistic missiles shot by the Houthis towards Saudi Arabia are consistent with the designs of Iranian missiles.

Iran has denied any role in supplying the rebels with arms. The report does not offer any information as to how the missiles were supplied, according to the Washington Post.

The Houthis are also responsible for extrajudicial killings and mass detentions, the report claims. 

The report says it does not appear the war in Yemen will end in the near future.